Abuse Of Power burst into the scene in 2016 and were part of the new generation of bands that contributed to the return of NEW AGE records, along with Drug Control, Safe And Sound or Cutting Through. Their really good demo tape, later reissued on a 7″ through New Age Records, set the bar pretty high and gave the world a foretaste of what these 5 kids from Atlanta were capable of. I hope you already checked out their “When Then Becomes Now” 7″ on Triple B records that will probably be considered a classic in a couple decades. With the online release of 2 new tracks in March I thought it was about time to ask the band a few questions.
Can you introduce band members, what your occupations are etc?
Hey, I’m Yoon and I play drums, Kaleb sings, Justin and Lucky play guitar, and Haylen plays the bass.
Are some of you involved in any other bands or music related activities?
Kaleb and I run a small project called Fruit Stand Press, we release music and other creative projects that interest us. He also plays in a band called “Except” along with Haylen and Lucky. Lucky plays in Slow Fire Pistol as well, a screamo band from Atlanta, GA.
Abuse Of Power is a strong and meaningful name, in the pure early hardcore tradition, like Goverment Issue, Reagan Youth or Society System Decontrol. How do you feel about the importance of politics in Hardcore Punk?
I think it’s very important. While not every hardcore band needs to be up front and center about the political issues in our world, they should at least have some form of message that they’re trying to get across to the audience. We don’t dive into politics too much in Abuse Of Power, we mostly try to discuss issues on a personal level.
Is it a topic you cover in your songs? Or at shows between songs?
That would be a question more directed for Kaleb.
What is the song « when then becomes now » about?
I feel as if it’s pretty transparent. Be more open minded, and try to be the best person you could be is what I personally get from it.
How did the signing on NEW AGE records happen? What does it make to be on the same label than legendary bands like MOUTHPIECE or OUTSPOKEN that are clearly influences on AOP sound.
We posted the demo online and Steven Callaway hit me up saying he liked it. He knew Mike Hartsfield and apparently had showed him the demo and he said he loved it. Then Mike and I started talking and it just happened from there. We are obvious huge fans of Outspoken so it was very cool. Being a part of the resurgence of New Age Records in the 2010’s was definitely an experience. I’d never thought I’d get to throw a New Age Records sleeve print for my own band.
You covered « This Isn’t Goodbye » by the band Ex Members Of… on the tape you released on Advanced Perspective. This song deviates a bit from the typical New Age era style you usually play. What were your motivations for this cover, record and release that song on a physical format?
The band “Ex-Members Of…” is a band from atlanta. While they are not our main influence, we definitely do take from this band as well. We do cassette tape singles whenever we have a new song we want to release along with a cover. We all love and take pride in Atlanta Hardcore so it was only fitting that we pay homage by covering Atlanta bands, hardcore or not.
Let’s talk about your artworks. If I’m right there were different artists behind your layouts, yet there is the same feeling, at least on the new 7’’ and the « Secure // Landslide » Tape. Who are these artists and where does this whole imagery come from? These kind of blury, charcoal black and white figures look sick !
Kaleb is the art director for our band, he has a pool of great ideas and concepts for the aesthetic for AOP so he leads that for the most part. There’s a book he has (can’t remember who is the author/illustrator) but it has the imagery of the Secure//Landslide artwork in it. We love the vibe of that style and asked our friend Chris Wilson if he could do something similar in his own taste, which ended up being the cover and layout of the “When Then Becomes Now” record.
After two 7’’ and tape, are there any plans for a full length? I’ve just seen you posted 2 new tracks online, a bit more mid tempo and less youth crew-ish. Will your music be different from what we know on this new record?
I can safely say that the new songs that we have written so far have the “Abuse of Power sound”. We have some faster songs, some slower songs, some harder songs, some softer songs. I’m definitely proud of the progress we have so far and can’t wait to show the world what we came up with. Maybe we’ll do a full length in the future, who knows.
You recently toured Europe for 6 days with FREE, including a show on New Year’s Eve. Was this your first time on the old continent for each of you? How was it?
Yes! It was Abuse of Power and Free’s first time playing Europe. Free and Abuse of Power have ex members of Have Heart and Foundation, so some people have been to Europe before but as the bands AOP and Free, it was the first. It was amazing, everyone is so kind and hospitable. New Years in Germany was crazy and awesome. The shows were fantastic with many people singing along and supporting us. Abuse of Power will be back in Europe around August or September 2018.
Any good / bad memories from this tour standing out?
Everyday hanging out with the people in Free were amazing. They’re some of the nicest and coolest guys we’ve ever met and we all share similar thoughts and mindsets on subjects. The worst part was Lucky being sick and not being able to spend New Years with us and trying to communicate in certain areas of the continent but… shit happens. All in all it was a wonderful time.
Did you notice any differences between shows / tours with the USA?
Europe definitely takes care of you on a different level than the USA. European shows seem to assist with lodging and food while not many shows/promoters in the USA do that. People in Europe definitely have a higher attention span and keep the interest in bands than people do in the USA as well.
Do you have plans to come back and tour longer since 6 days is pretty short?
Yup, as I mentioned earlier, we’re doing a 2 week tour in Europe in August/September of 2018.
You played a bunch of sick fests already such as United Blood, FYA fest, America’s Hardcore fest. What was your best live experience as a band so far? And the worst?
So far, one of the best live experiences we’ve had as a band was the Turnstile Time & Space Record Release show at Damaged City fest. There were over 600+ people paid and it was probably the biggest crowd we’ve ever played to. I feel like not a lot of people there knew about us before but definitely gave us such a heartwarming reaction. I also want to send a shout out to Braces for taking care of us year after year in Richmond for shows and United Blood, as well as Sam for putting out the record for us on BBB and for America’s Hardcore Fest.
Do you have any goals in mind you would like to achieve with AOP before you call it a day?
I want to play in different areas of the world and experience all of their culture. We don’t ever want to make AOP a career and definitely do not want to drag it on.
Like in every town, I assume Atlanta Hardcore had its ups and downs. What’s the current status of the scene in your town?
Right now it’s great. It had a little bit of a low after Foundation had called it quits, but lately we have a lot of new younger kids being interested and coming out. We have great turnouts and great sing alongs at most shows and it’s sick. Everyone gets along, theres no
drama, and the vibes are just great at the shows.
Any cool new bands from Atlanta we should check out?
Except, Slow Fire Pistol, Bad Moods, Symbiote, TNT.
The Love – Hate question: What pisses you off / makes you happy? At the moment or in general.
Crowd killers piss me off. People who sing along at shows make me happy. #ospo
Thanks a lot for your time. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Be on the lookout for bands coming out of the new tri-state area consisting of the forces of ATLANTA, NORTH CAROLINA, and SOUTH FLORIDA.